Property sector needs budget support, says Rics
The chancellor must boost the ailing housing and commercial property sectors, according to the surveying industry.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has called on Chancellor George Osborne to introduce measures to encourage growth in these sectors in his forthcoming Budget.
Mark Goodwin, director of external affairs at Rics, said as the industries act as significant drivers of growth in the wider economy, greater activity in these sectors would promote economic recovery and provide long-term, sustainable growth.
"This Budget provides the government with a chance to encourage growth and innovation in construction and property, providing much needed jobs, tackling the housing shortage and ensuring that businesses have a continuing supply of high quality premises," he said.
"With house-building at a desperately low level, it is essential that the government takes steps to attract investment into the residential sector."
The trade association pointed to an October survey of leading public sector property professionals that showed most feared the loss of vital professional talent in the wake of government cutbacks.
Mr Goodwin added: "More strategic and efficient management of public sector property assets has rightly been identified as a golden opportunity for the government to make savings of around £5bn over the next ten years and release some £20bn through disposals.
Rics has proposed that the governemnt cut VAT on refurbishment of homes, change the tax system to encourage residential property investment and reinstate empty commercial property rate relief.
Rics pointed to claims that every £1 spent on construction contributes £2.84 to economic activity, and the industry employs around 900,000 people, while the property sector employs a further 500,000 people.